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June 21, 2010 - Loveway
Based on gut reactions alone, Carter Hulsey appears to be riding the newest wave of post-Dashboard Confessional emo songsmiths spearheaded by Never Shout Never's Christofer Drew. The skinny, swoop-haired artist released A Note In Your Pocket on Drew's Loveway Records and shares a similar aesthetic with his label boss. But divorcing Pocket from Hulsey's image reveals an album of folk-leaning adult-contemporary tracks sung in a voice remarkably similar to Counting Crows' Adam Duritz. Hulsey shows his lyrical prowess on opener "Like A Bear", successfully extending metaphors about hibernation, war and self-realization dangerously close to their breaking points. The remainder of Pocket fails to sustain interest. Hulsey trips over a minefield of clichés, inundating "Good Time" with tragically predictable rhymes and transforming "Black And Blue" into a Bryan Adams-esque power ballad. If you're not convinced that the world needs another white kid with an acoustic guitar and a Conor Oberst obsession singing about loneliness and longing, Carter Hulsey's not the guy to sway you.